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Disclaimer: Trust & Will is an online service that provides legal forms and information. Trust & Will is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice.
Planning a vacation is often what people look forward to most about the summer vacation. It is a time for us to step away from our responsibilities and unwind. Regardless of whether you are planning a solo trip, a trip with your close relatives or a family vacation, the trip gives you the opportunity to create lasting memories outside of your everyday life. And while planning for a trip can already be a lot of work, it̵7;s important to also think through what would happen if something went wrong while you were away from home.
Planning and traveling go hand in hand, but it’s not just clothes and a toothbrush you need to pack – don’t forget your digital pack too. Digital packing is about making sure you have all your important accounts and documents in order before you leave. This includes things like your will, healthcare directives and custody documents. Why are these documents so important? If you’re traveling outside of your hometown and far from many of your loved ones, should you find yourself in an emergency, you want to be prepared. Additionally, if you are traveling with minor children, custody documents are an important security measure. In this guide, we’ll show you the best way to prevent any unexpected travel accidents: update your estate plan, including care documents, and make sure the right people have access to it.
What is estate planning and why is it important?
Estate planning is the creation of a detailed document that outlines your plans for your assets should you die, or if you can no longer be responsible for them yourself. Your assets may include but are not limited to:
Estate planning not only outlines what will happen to your assets, but it also gives you the chance to make known your wishes regarding your health directives and the well-being of your minor children should you become incapacitated by illness, tragic accident or other debilitating circumstances. By creating and updating your estate plan before you travel, you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, your children and your assets.
Digital packing tips when you travel
There are several parts of your estate plan you’ll want to update before you set off on your trip. Make sure you have these items checked off your digital packing list before you leave – and most importantly, share these documents with someone back home.
Wills and trusts
Your will provides a more detailed account of your assets and who will receive your belongings upon your death. The list of your assets you wish to pass on to your loved ones may change over time, which in turn should affect your will. It’s easy to put off updating your will because you’re already juggling so many other daily tasks and pressing responsibilities. Between work, dropping off and picking up your children from their daily activities, completing your long list of household chores and so much more, it can feel impossible to find time to update your will. However, before a trip is the perfect time to make sure your will is fully up to date in case of an unforeseen event.
A trust is a legal document in which you appoint the responsibility of managing your assets to a trustee of your choice. It is common for you to make yourself the trustee, with a successor trustee listed if you find yourself in a position where you cannot be responsible for your assets. A trust also allows for a smooth transition of your assets upon your death, often giving your loved ones the option to skip probate entirely. If you have a trust in addition to a will, it will be important to review them carefully before you travel to ensure that all the assets you want included in your trust are accounted for.
We should add that, at Haven Life, we also believe that whole life insurance is an important part of long-term financial planning, as it helps ensure that your family is financially protected should the worst happen (when you travel or otherwise ) ). Get started by getting a quote in minutes.
Health care directives are essential to ensure that your wishes about your health care preferences are carried out as you want them to be, even if you are unable to express your wishes to medical professionals. Your health care directive is a document that specifically states what your wishes are, while also listing which of your loved ones can make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself.
When you travel, it becomes even more important that your health care directives are fully up to date. If you are traveling, perhaps outside of your home country, and far from many of your loved ones, should you end up in a life-threatening situation, coma or need emergency surgery, you want to make sure that your health care wishes will be met.
It can often be beneficial to add one of the people you are traveling with to the list of people who may receive medical information about your condition throughout the trip. No one wants to be involved in a situation where they are hospitalized and incapacitated in a place far from home, with no one there to speak on your behalf regarding your medical decisions. By adding a member of your travel party to your health care directive throughout your trip, you can rest easier knowing you’ve prepared for any unfortunate situation that may arise.
If you are someone with minor children, custody documents are an important security measure when traveling. These documents will indicate who you give authority over your minor children if you are unable to care for them due to death or a medical emergency. When you travel, it can increase your chances of having an accident. Also, taking a family vacation can increase the risk of both parents becoming incapacitated or dying at the same time, leaving your children unattended and unprotected. But with guardianship deed nominations, you can ensure that you have a set plan for your children’s care, even in unimaginable, worst-case scenarios.
Upload and share documents
It is crucial to have all your documents in one place that is easily accessible to both you and your loved ones. There are many digital vault services that can provide you with a secure place to upload and share your documents. That way, should something happen to you while you’re away from home, your loved ones will be able to quickly and easily find all the information they need to make important decisions on your behalf.
Trust & Will offers a shared access feature for your estate plan so your loved ones can view your important documents. You can upload your probate and notify the people who may be included in it, such as an executor or beneficiary. Enjoy the gift of peace of mind on your next vacation (and beyond) knowing that you have a solid plan in place and that people you trust have access to it.
Traveling can be such an exciting and fun adventure to share with your loved ones, especially during the summer months. However, travel involves some additional risks to the safety and health of you and your family members. The last thing you want to think about during your vacation is worrying about the unpredictable. Fortunately, with Trust & Will’s online estate planning services, you can prepare for any situation you may face. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take Trust & Will’s free quiz to see where you should start, or compare its different estate planning options.
About Louis Wilson
Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide range of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children.
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